Listed below are our guidelines for ethical conduct and decision-making. As SCALE’s network and operations grow and evolve, so will these guidelines, as a living testament to our core values and principles. We will hold space for this process. We commit to holding ourselves accountable to these values and principles and to renewing this commitment on a regular basis.
SIX CORE VALUES
We come together first and foremost as artists, arts workers and culture-makers, recognizing that our unique value proposition and responsibility in the climate crisis is rooted in our human capacity for creative engagement.
We believe that leadership is a mindset, not a job title. We seek to advance the leadership capacity of artists and cultural organizations as agents of transformation, in service to all life on the planet.
We commit to taking action at the scale and speed required by the scientific and moral imperatives of climate and environmental justice. We align with Western and Indigenous science, holding fast to determined optimism.
We commit to moving forward with moral courage, while accepting that this will be an imperfect journey. We believe in building resilience through relentless learning, being open and responsive to difference, and training our eyes on solutions.
We believe our strength lies in diversities of voice, identity, language, geography, artistic discipline, lived experience and thought. Everyone is needed, and everyone is welcome.
We commit to building right relations grounded in care, generosity and humility, deeply mindful of the interdependence of all living beings. We commit to honouring these relationships through accessibility, accountability and integrity in all our actions.
TWELVE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES
1. We see greener, more just futures—and ways to get there. We unite in a shared vision of a livable planet for all forms of life: now and in the future. We know the arts can help make the climate emergency personal, emotional, and actionable.
2. We have an expansive vision of arts and climate engagement. Our vision of the arts and culture sector encompasses individual artists, grassroots organizations, large institutions and everything in between. We embrace multiple worldviews and ways of knowing, and seek to engage people at all stages of their climate journeys. We meet people where they’re at.
3. We centre Indigenous wisdom in right relations. SCALE acknowledges that we are mainly settlers working to mobilize a settler-dominated arts and culture sector. We further acknowledge that the roots of the climate emergency lie in colonialist and extractivist settler society, which therefore carries the responsibility to fix it. Yet we also recognize that there can be no solutions to the climate and ecological crisis without centering Indigenous wisdom and Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Working within this context, we strive to honour essential Indigenous wisdom without placing the burden of labour on Indigenous peoples. We do this by honouring Indigenous teachings we have received, and continually striving to earn and renew the trust engendered in right relations with Indigenous communities. We commit to ongoing self-education and training in Indigenous knowledge through various means, with a corresponding budget line.
4. We ground our work in climate justice. We know that those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are those most at risk from its impacts, especially in frontline communities. This happens on geographic, economic, cultural and intergenerational levels.
5. We recognize the interconnectedness of multiple crises. We know that colonialism, capitalism, and anthropocentrism are inextricably linked systems of oppression. While it’s beyond the scope of SCALE to dismantle these systems, we believe that by addressing the climate and ecological emergency as enshrined in our mandate, we can create positive impacts elsewhere. We see how deeply rooted the problems are, and we see how we can make progress.
6. We recognize our sector is implicated. We see that we are working from inside an oppressive system which upholds white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, ableism and other forms of injustice. As a “network of networks” we commit to leadership and knowledge mobilization which supports arts organizations to implement change towards green and just futures.
7. We see value in multiple theories of change. We believe there is more than one way for arts and culture to move the needle on the climate crisis. Profound change requires multiple strategies working in concert at different levels: from infinite small changes coalescing through a process of emergence, to advocacy and leverage at key pressure points where power and capital are held.
8. We focus on knowledge mobilization for artists and arts organisations. Our goals include tangible outputs for the sector such as the development of new tools, methodologies, policies and strategic alliances. We avoid duplication by promoting, aggregating and amplifying existing resources whenever possible.
9. We work to catalyze a revolution in social values. We offer our creative practices in partnership with other sectors—science, advocacy, and more—to propel a shift from extractivism and consumerism to stewardship and regeneration.
10. We make spaces of belonging. We create safe, accessible, and compassionate spaces for the exchange of ideas, learning and collaboration.
11. Our governance is grounded in our values. We adhere to a pluralistic and relational approach in decision-making which responds to the urgency of the climate and ecological crisis. We adhere to the Jemez principles for democratic organizing.
12. We honour the tension between urgency and trust. We know there is little time and much work that urgently needs to be done, and yet we also know we must move at the speed of trust. When we experience uncertainty about when to push forward or when to hold back, we will choose to hold space: to remember our teachings, and reconnect with our values and principles.
WHO WE ARE
SCALE was born in the spring of 2021 when a small group of dedicated arts workers came together to establish a national hub at the intersection of climate and culture in Canada. The organisation incorporated as a non-profit in December 2021.
SCALE carries out its mission at three levels:
The Mission Circle provides ethical direction on the overall mission for SCALE, fulfilling the function of ‘moral compass’. The Mission Circle is primarily responsible for setting SCALE’s longer term strategy and objectives, while monitoring and assessing SCALE’s accountability to our core values and foundational principles.
Mission Circle Lead:
Tanya Kalmanovitch (musician, writer, scholar, tanyakalmanovitch.com)
Kendra Fanconi (Artistic Director, The Only Animal)
Sanita Fejzić (novelist, poet, playwright, scholar, sanitafejzic.com)
Andre Forsythe (Executive Director, The School for Climate)
Tracey Friesen (Managing VP, CMPA-BC and founder, Story Money Impact)
Anthony Garoufalis-Auger (Climate Emergency Unit)
Ian Garrett (artist, researcher, educator ianpgarrett.com)
Dennis D. Gupa (theatre director and Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Film, University of Winnipeg)
David Maggs (musician, writer, scholar and Metcalf Innovation Fellow)
Nadine Medawar (Executive Director, Regroupement québécois de la danse)
Claude Schryer (producer, conscient podcast)
Kimberly Skye Richards (educator, researcher, dramaturg, Transition in Energy, Culture and Society)
Benjamin Von Wong (artist, activist, co-founder of the Activism.Studio)
The Roundtable is a gathering place for individual artists and arts organizations working at the intersection of climate and culture in Canada to network, collaborate and strategize. The Roundtable meets approximately every six weeks.
The Assembly is an opportunity for individual artists and arts organizations at the beginning of their climate journey to learn, share information and mobilize, with the goal of broadly disseminating best practices and growing the movement.
Meanwhile, SCALE’s Board of Directors carries the fiduciary and legal responsibility for the organization, and oversees human resources, bylaws and policies. The board takes its ethical and operating direction from the Mission Circle, in adherence with the core values and foundational principles of SCALE.
Board of Directors:
Claude Schryer, Chair
Mhiran Faraday, Treasurer
Howard Jang, Director-at-Large
Annette Hegel, Organizational Development and Network Lead
Julia Matamoros, Communications Lead
Judi Pearl, Operations Lead
SCALE gratefully acknowledges the significant partnership and support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Arts Centre.
Sincere thanks to our supporters who have contributed to SCALE’s start-up:
SCALE acknowledges with gratitude the significant contributions of former Mission Circle members: